January 5th 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of National Bird Day! Organized by Born Free USA it promotes the idea that “non-domesticated animals that belong in the wild, where they can fly free and express their natural behaviors”. Also, birds should not be sold in pet stores; instead we should appreciate those that fly free outside our windows, and discourage captive bird trade. Click here to see how you can get involved!
To celebrate National Bird Day, here are some fun facts about birds:
The Anna’s Hummingbird is considered the fastest animal on Earth. Its courtship dive is faster than a fighter jet a full throttle. It’s swoop experiences forces 10 times the pull of gravity!
Based on similarities in skeletal structure, a good number of scientists have theorized that many modern bird species evolved from the dinosaurs.
Migratory birds (ex. geese) fly in a V-shaped formation to optimize aerodynamics and conserve energy – those in the front ‘break up’ the air along their wing tips, which both decreases air resistance for those behind and creates a sort of vortex behind the group, pushing the whole formation forward.
Some birds cannot fly. For example, the ostrich, penguin, emu, cassowary, rhea, and kiwi.
The ostrich is the world’s largest (living bird). Adult males can be up to 8 feet tall and weigh between 140 to 230 pounds! Since it is also flightless, it depends on running to escape predators. Beware, they also pack a powerful kick!
Who says being green is boring? Explore the wonders of the natural world – with an extreme twist!
Extreme Mountain Camping
Want an easy way to reduce your environmental footprint while rock climbing? Don’t make any kind of footprint, not even to set up your tent!
Explore one of mother nature’s greatest creations. This is Earth’s version of a black hole – Calcutta, Blue Mountains, Australia. All you need is some rope, sturdy shoes, and a sense of adventure!
Craving wide open spaces and untouched powder on the slopes? Think you can handle a rough landing? Bypass the over-crowded ski hills and save some money – heli-skiing might just be the sport for you!
No money for equipment? Make the city your prop! Parkours, also called free-running, uses urban gymnastics to convert your surroundings into your own personal obstacle course.
Experience real horsepower – hit the beach catch a wave and soar. Not a fan of the water? Whip out your skateboard and hit a flat green space (short grass on a semi-hard surface is easier on the horse’s knees and still gives you the grip you need to cruise).
Finding light in the darkness
Last November as I was researching my next endeavor to give back to the world that has given us so much, I stumbled across a listing for what would probably be one of the most important experiences of my life. I’ve wanted to work for the World Wildlife Fund ever since I was a teenager. Having the possibility to do so was so overwhelming to me, it almost didn’t seem real. But I applied anyway, and then I got the call that I would indeed be a part of the very first Montreal team doing outreach for Sweater Day and Earth Hour. It was the beginning of an experience that would not only open doors for my future, but would connect me with some of the most passionate and hard-working people I have ever met.
When you get a chance to take a step towards your dream, it may not always be what it was cracked up to be – like getting someone’s morning coffee instead of writing that article you were promised. Everyone has had that job. In this case, it was everything I thought it would be and more. Sure, I didn’t get to witness a cheetah streak across the savannah and take down an antelope, or follow the migration of a blue whale and her calf from the breeding to the feeding grounds, but I have my whole career ahead of me for that. Instead, I got what every individual trying to pursue their dream hopes for: reassurance that this is indeed what you were meant to do with your life. And that is priceless.
Our small team in Montreal, three people strong, strove to help individuals understand the importance of standing up for our planet, and maybe passing on a little inspiration along the way. Although it was challenging at times, we were persistent and tireless, because we knew in our hearts this was a cause worth fighting for.
Earth Hour is about more than just switching off lights and saving electricity; it’s about creating a voice and standing up for what we believe in – a sustainable future for our planet. It’s about how everybody can make a difference, as long as they have a strong mind and an open heart. Look at us: even as a team of only three we tackled our task head-on, and what came out of it was spectacular. Dozens of landmarks across Montreal (and Quebec) shut off their lights for Earth Hour, and with every light that went off in the city that night, I couldn’t help but think “I helped do this.” It was the most amazing feeling in the world, and I can only imagine that everyone at the WWF has that same feeling every single day. In the darkness of Earth Hour, there was light. That light is bright enough to ignite the whole world, and hopefully one day, change it.
If polar bears and huskies can get along, why can’t we?
Yes, polar bears are dangerous. No, we are not advocating trying to have your chihuahua make friends with the neighbourhood black bear. But seriously, how can you resist this?